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Table of Contents
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- Cornerstones of Bureaucracy
- Dysfunctions of Bureaucracy
- Relevance of Bureaucracy for Cotemporary Organizations Today
- Major principles
- Principle of fixed and official jurisdictional areas
- Principles of office hierarchy
- Principles of Scientific Management
- Division of Work
- Authority and Responsibility
- Unity of Command
- Unity of direction
- Subordination of individual interests to general interests
- Fair Remuneration to employees
- Centralization and Decentralization
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According to Max Weber, bureaucracy is a fundamental unit of organizational theory, and it has widely influenced present-day sociological theories of organizations. Conception of organization bureaucracies is together with Principle of Scientific Management (Henri Fayol). Weber with his work developed a clear understanding of organizations in the private and public sector, and at the same time, he made significant contributions to organizational theory (Shafritz & Ott, 2005). Many people consider Weber’s Society and Economy as one of the most significant works in sociology up to the present day. In Society and Economy, Weber breaks down, among other things, how the capitalistic large-scale enterprises function (Miller, 2009). Weber was searching for an answer to questions regarding the success of the capitalistic large-scale enterprises in the goal-oriented organization of functionally separated tasks. Highly specialized personnel execute such tasks, and they should bring different aspects together in a manner they run smoothly.
Weber’s analyses finally led him to the recognition then that bureaucracy ensures that there are efficient structures in place to organize complex tasks (Hamilton, 2003). According to Weber, rational-legal authority was the basis for Bureaucracy. Rational-legal authority provides descriptions on different types of authorities based on the belief in legal and insofar rational order (Miller, 2009). This belief allows for legitimacy because of the fact that obedience and deference are to the role rather than to the person who holds the role. Weber ascertained the existence of legal forms of authority in a significant rationalization of society. In his work, Weber purposely differentiates between rational, legal authority and charismatic authority and traditional authority (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
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Cornerstones of Bureaucracy
According to Weber, the rational, legal authority draws on bureaucratic, administrative staff, which is different from administrations based on the charismatic or traditional authority (Miller, 2009). The aim of the bureaucratic, administrative staff’s structural set-up is to limit an arbitrary behavior of the administration or the ruler and acts for this purpose only with regard to general rules, which do not depend on the individual who applies them. These rules are useful in the achievement of social or organizational goals. Therefore, it is the role of bureaucracy to execute the directives of the legitimate ruler stringently based on codified rules (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Dysfunctions of Bureaucracy
The strict conformity to rules in bureaucratic administrations is a single most significant reason for poor efficiency. The sight of goal-orientated task achievement gets lost in favor of rigorous compliance to rules. Another problem is the tendency that autonomous and independent acting and working undergoes discouragement and dynamic adaption to an environment that is ever faster changing (Miller, 2009). Moreover, the high inflexibility of bureaucracy leads communication and coordination problems. The analysis of Weber is entirely blind for informal social structures within organizations, which affect the behaviors and actions of people in the organization (Hamilton, 2003). In addition, empirical analysis on the efficiency of bureaucratic structures within organizations depicted that bureaucratization can generate efficiency only under stable, but not too complex conditions (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Relevance of Bureaucracy for Cotemporary Organizations Today
Most organizations operate in dynamic and complex environments. Ever-shorter product life cycles, internationalization of business operations, innovations in information technology, pluralization of lifestyles and changes in values are the widespread challenges in organizational design presently. Therefore, it is necessary to ask questions of the relevancy of bureaucracy for present-day organizations against the setting of modern times. Those organizations that strictly follow the fundamental dimensions of bureaucracy appear to be dysfunctional. Such organization will prove to be too rigid to adapt to dynamic environments and situations in a goal-orientated manner. In most cases, changes will likely fail due to the resistance of the rigid and strict bureaucratic structures (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
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Principle of fixed and official jurisdictional areas
Regular activities that should fulfill the functions of the bureaucratically governed structured undergo distribution in a fixed manner as official duties (Shafritz & Ott, 2005). The discharge of these official duties requires commands from an authority that undergoes distribution in a stable manner, as well as strict delimitation by rules regarding the coercive means, sacerdotal, physical, or otherwise. With this principle, individuals make methodical provision for the continuous and regular fulfillment of the official duties and for the implementation of the corresponding rights.
Principles of office hierarchy
The principle of hierarchical office authority is common in each bureaucratic structure. This can happen in ecclesiastical and state structures as well as in private enterprises and large party organizations, regardless of whether its authority is public or private. When the jurisdictional competency principle undergoes fully execution through hierarchical subordination, the higher authority attains authority to adopt the business of the lower sections (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Written documents provide the basis of the management of the modern office
The body officials engage in a public office actively, along with their files and apparatus. In this principle, the present day organizations of the civil service separate the bureau from the private dwelling of the official. Public equipment and monies experience divorce from the official’s private property. The executive office undergoes separation from the business assets from private fortunes, business from private correspondence, and the household. The separations are most likely to occur when individuals carry through the modern form of business management in a more consistent manner (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Principles of Scientific Management
Henry Fayol developed principles of scientific management. According to Fayol, managerial excellence refers to a technically ability that can be acquired. Henry Fayol’s theories and principles of management have gained a universal acceptance and they make him universalistic (Shafritz & Ott, 2005). He pioneered the formal education in management. There are fourteen principles of scientific management, which meet the requirements of modern management.
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Division of Work
The worker should stick to the same post; the manager should deal with the same matters in order to acquire an ability, accuracy, and sureness, which increases their productivity. In other words, division of work refers to specialization. Division of work is a principle, which shows that an individual is incapable of performing all tasks within an organization. Each employee should execute a single task in which he or she has exceptional job experience. Division of work is extremely significant in promoting efficiency because it allows an organizational member to execute tasks in a limited area, which reduces the scope of his or her responsibility (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Authority and Responsibility
In this way, if an individual is responsible to perform any a task, he or she should also possess the concerned authority. In this regard, Fayol's principle of management shows that an efficient manager makes the best use of his authority, and he or she does not escape from the responsibility. In other words, when the manager exercises authority, he should acquire responsibility automatically (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
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Discipline is a principle of scientific management, which means sincerity regarding the enterprise and work, executing orders and instructions of super ordinates, and having faith in the programs and policies of the business enterprise. However, Fayol does not encourage fines, warning, dismissals, and suspension of an employee for maintaining discipline. A well-disciplined workforce is crucial for ameliorating the quantity and quality of the production (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Unity of Command
According to Fayol, a subordinate should take orders from only one boss, and he should be accountable and responsible to him. Further, Fayol claimed that if the unit of command undergoes violation, authority will be weak, discipline will be in danger, order will undergo disturbance, and stability threatened. Violation of this principle will bring about some serious consequences (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
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Unity of direction
This principle means that a single person should lead and direct group efforts on a plan. This will allow for effective co-ordination of individual energy and efforts. Unity of direction fulfils the principle of unity of command, and it ensures uniformity in the task of the same nature. The principle of unit of direction creates dedication to loyalty and purpose (Shafritz & Ott, 2005). It emphasizes the achievement of a common goal under one leader.
Subordination of individual interests to general interests
This principle of management states that workers should surrender their personnel interest before the enterprise’s general interest of the. Sometimes the workers overlook the interest of the organization because of this ignorance, laziness, selfishness, emotional pleasure, and carelessness (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Fair Remuneration to employees
Method of payment and wage-rates should be fair, satisfactory, and proper. Appropriate and logical methods and wage-rate of their payment reduces differences and tension between employees and management, a pleasing atmosphere of work and create harmonious relationship (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
Centralization and Decentralization
There should be a centralized point in the organization, which exercises overall control of all the parts. However, the extent of centralization of authority should depend on the needs of the situation. Fayol does not favor decentralization or centralization of authorities, but he suggests that there should be effective and proper adjustment between decentralization and centralization so that to attain maximum objectives of the business (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).
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A worker should feel the need to contact his superiors according to the scalar chain. The communication of responsibility and authority occurs in this scalar chain. According to Henry Fayol, scalar chain is the chain of superiors that range from the highest authority to the lowest rank. Business problems need immediate resolution, so we cannot always depend on the established scalar chain (Shafritz & Ott, 2005).